A 145-kilometer (90-mile) firewall in eastern Turkey has prevented irregular migrants from entering the country, as well as helped prevention of smuggling activities and terrorist incidents.
The firewall, which was completed in 2020, was built on the eastern provinces of Igdir and Agri along the Turkish-Iranian border.
Turkish soldiers, who use all means of technology with the support provided by the state against all kinds of negativities on the borderline, work day and night to monitor and control the borders.
They prevent irregular migrants from crossing the border, help prevent smuggling activities, and instantly detect foreigners who want to illegally cross into Turkey, especially through Iran.
Police teams in Agri carried out 73 operations against flowing of irregular migrants in last one year. They caught 149 people for organizing irregular migrant smuggling. A total of 56 were arrested, and 26 were released on condition of judicial control.
Agri Governor Osman Varol told Anadolu Agency that 75% of the irregular migrants caught on the Iranian border in recent years are from Afghanistan, 10% from Pakistan, 10% from Iran, and 5% from other countries.
Since Turkey is both a transit and a destination country, Afghan citizens were expected to illegally enter Turkey, but in the face of a new wave of immigration, many measures have been taken, such as putting up wire fences, developing camera systems, installing lighting systems, and making a patrol road, Varol said.
“This year, 28,509 people were prevented from illegally crossing through the Agri border,” he said, adding that there was a 70% increase in the rate of foreigners caught and sent back to their country.
There is also a rise of 750% in the arrests of irregular immigrants in the Gurbulak Customs Directorate compared to the previous year, he noted. The reason for this increase is that the construction of the wall at the border was completed and the military measures have been taken, he added.
“Thanks to the firewall and other measures at our border, illegal entries into our country have significantly decreased,” he stressed.
Igdir Governor Huseyin Engin Sariibrahim said the province has borders with Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Iran, Armenia, and Azerbaijan and that there is a borderline of around 200 kilometers (124 miles).
Underlining the importance of the modular concrete firewall in the Agri-Igdir section of the Turkey-Iran border, he said they benefit from electro-optical towers using domestic and national technology.
“With our security forces, we work 24/7 for the border security. I would like to thank my friends who work at the border security point,” he added.
Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
The country, which already hosts 4 million refugees, more than any other country in the world, is taking new measures at its borders to prevent a fresh influx of migrants.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar in Ankara.
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